Magic makes us marvel at the world, at the mysteries we can’t unravel and at the near-miracles a little dexterity and ingenuity can create. For someone like Bruce Hetzler, the power of magic hits much closer to home. He suffered a stroke in 2011 that left him unable to walk or use his left hand and arm. Recovery has been slow, but Hetzler told WBAY-TV that his love of magic provided a big motivation in his healing process.
After all that time, he took the stage on Saturday as part of a magic show to benefit the Littlest Tumor Foundation. The performance with The Fox Valley Magic Extravaganza marked the first time he’d done close-up magic since the stroke.
“Magic is a wonderful form of entertainment that’s suitable for the entire family and also because it’s for a valuable, important cause,” he said.
Hetzler isn’t the only magician to find inspiration in his craft following an injury. Kevin Spencer dove into the possibilities of magic as a form of therapy following a car accident. His efforts culminated in a short documentary called “Powerful Medicine: Simply Magic.” If you share his interest, you can rent or buy the film from the Simply Magic website.
Magician Kevin Spencer seriously injured his hand in a car accident, but the therapy needed to regain his manual dexterity had an unexpected side effect: it started him thinking about the therapeutic benefits of magic. It’s an idea he explores more fully in the award-winning documentary “Powerful Medicine: Simply Magic,” as Spencer takes the healing power of magic around the world.
“Could a simple magic trick be used to help someone with a disability become more confident, more capable, more sociable?” Spencer wonders in the film, but he’s not just idly pondering. Spencer is the founder and executive director of Hocus Focus, Inc., which is “dedicated to researching the benefits of the arts to help improve the skills that many children with disabilities find challenging.” He and his colleage, Dr. Susan O’Rourke of Carlow University (PA), have developed an assessment tool that “measures student learning outcomes in five areas – cognition, motor skills, communication, social skills, and flexible thinking – using an arts-based curriculum like magic tricks.”
To get your daily reminder that magic is for everyone, spend 22 minutes watching Powerful Medicine, which you can rent or buy from the Simply Magic site. For more information on curriculums including magic, visit the Hocus Focus site.